It’s been many years since we’ve seen a mushroom discovery and foraging season like this one, an unexpectedly wet La Niña winter that has made up for last year’s vastly disappointing and relatively mild El Niño.
Thus, Saturday late afternoon, we headed over to the Santa Monica Mountains to search for fruiting bodies of fungi, slime molds, and lichens. We did not leave disappointed, photographing a wide variety of fruiting bodies growing primarily underneath the oak trees, but also close to the sycamores that follow seasonal flows. We even came home with a pristine white bouquet of oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus ostreatus, which will be seasoned and pan-fried this evening for dinner.
The only bummer of the afternoon was losing my screw-in macro lens for the iPhone 7 Plus. It must have dropped out of my pocket as I rolled around to find mushrooms amongst the duff. A fair trade? Yeah, I think so.
A gauze wall of sound with a feather of vocals floating overhead, all set within the Philip Johnson Glass House? Count me entranced. From Julianna Barwick‘s upcoming third full-length, Will.
Recorded in Lisbon, Portugal and Asheville, North Carolina at the Moog factory, with guest Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist Jamie Ingalls, this is music to ascend into consciousness with in the morning or to accompany you into the descent into unconsciousness in the night.
With the conclusion of Inner Vision for The Wirecutter now a done deal – concluding a most satisfying 2 1/2 year run – I still find myself with countless stories, videos, tips, tricks, and books I’ve gathered over the years to stir into my weekly hot pot of online links. I’m calling the following the leftovers…
Cabin Fever: “We know that, at the very least, some technologies are harming our natural world, our societies and, ultimately, ourselves. Therefore we can recognise the need to reject some technologies. If we’re to avoid technological extremism we’re going to have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. I’ve drawn mine, and I will only move it in the direction of my home.”
This might be the equivalent of a purge/cleanse diet, but the desire to abandon technology completely is recognizably and profoundly becoming more common as it intrudes upon the source of our happiness, most notably the availability of time to call our own.
Strangely Good:Music back in ’70s Turkey was made with flair and spirit, drawing on Western psych, disco, rock as much as Eastern traditions and folk. “It’s not kitchy, it’s not pop. It’s strange and really good,” says Mete Adunduk, who appears in the film.
The Great Animal Orchestra: Listen. No, really…shut up. Stop moving, stop talking, and listen to the world around you for at least one minute without pause or interruption. Those sounds of nature – the biophony – is the collective sound of vocalizing animals (probably birds, maybe insects) that characterize an environment, the soundscape that blends into the non-biological sound sources of the geophony (e.g. wind and rain) and humanity’s intrusive addition, the anthrophony. Together, you’re experiencing the bioacoustic orchestra of the world.
Crust of the Polygon:Designer Norihiko Terayama’s delicate polygonal sculptures are constructed oh-so-carefully with conjoined pins. The resulting wireframe surrounding each plant define twig or branch as a centerpiece, while also bringing attention to the immediate space each occupies, evoking ideas of photosynthesis, entropy, non-verbal communication, and the proximity of others.
It’s worth mentioning when I had graduated from college with a design degree and a rudimentary ability to code my own webpages, efficient image optimization was as highly valued a skill as the actual creative design used to present those tiny gifs (jpegs and pngs were yet to make their mark). Similar to the sprawl defining and marring the suburban landscape, a tangled yarn of advertising, scripts, and extraneous elements have slowed the internet to a crawl.
The Kaniakapupu, King Kamehameha III Summer Palace Ruins is listed as closed, but nosy-inquiring minds needed to know, so we braved dense overgrowth and a relentless squadron of mosquitoes to discover what’s left of Hawaiian royalty history in a dense tropical jungle filled with mushrooms and the song of birds.
My friend Tamara arranged for a special invitation tour of the The Manoa Heritage Center (they have some amazing flushing toilets there), guided by the wonderful Collections Manager, Jenny Leung. Highly recommended if you can spare the time and nab an invite.
We were hoping the recent rainstorm had dumped enough precipitation to awaken the mycelium to fruit along the Hondo Trail in Topanga Canyon this weekend (a very pleasant incline hike that takes hikers from an oak lined canyon eventually up to Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park). To our disappointment the soil and the duff layer were both too dry, any remaining evidence of petrichor long gone. Nevertheless, there were a few choice finds amongst the decomposing coastal live oak bark selfishly guarded by dangerous tendrils of poison oak; a popular abode to native fauna, a closer inspection revealed a beautifully muscular California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus), a Southern Shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta tudiculata, a rare California endemic species), and a fairy ring of Agaricus spp. which seemed to whisper promises of more rain…and with it, more mycological magic would awaken.
We spent that late afternoon listening to a chorus of frogs echoing across a creek canyon, above, the hills above brushed golden by the gentle sway of native grasses illuminated by magic hour sunlight, the gnarled sentry of wizened oaks following us as we followed the narrow trails of mule deer. Our time there was short, but the memories imprinted endless. You can look up Camper Van Finder and find a RV to rent.
Over at AHBE Lab, landscape architect Gary Lai documents the history and current commuter’s quagmire known as the Los Angeles freeway system. In the process of researching and editing Gary’s piece, I discovered a series of vintage postcards circa 1950s-1960s showing aerial photographs of LA’s ribbon bow freeway interchanges, accompanied with smarmy vintage era catchlines: “Man, Dig Those Crazy Los Angeles Freeways”, “Dig Those Crazy Freeways’, and finally the succinct, “Dig Those Freeways” (the postcards can additionally be appreciated as snapshots of slang’s progression…or postcard makers cost cutting measures).
In any case, check out these crazy Los Angeles Freeways below…can you dig?
So pleased Jaime picked my shed project for Design Milk as one of her favorite posts of 2015. Looking toward 2016 I have a great many more ideas for upgrading the space, inside and out (next up – after the rain – is building a small surrounding deck).